Online trolls are simply bored, study finds

trolling road signMany brand managers ask themselves (and us in seminars) how a shitstorm begins. We most often tell them that many shitstorms are not real business problem but more a “verbal foul-mouthed fart” as we called it some weeks ago in one of the courses at the Executive Campus of the University of St. Gallen.

However, it is obvious that trolling increased in recent years with the rise of Facebook pages, online communities and newspaper comment which spread across the web with insults and provocations. Now, a recent academic study by Dr Claire Hardaker of Lancaster University of almost 4,000 trolling cases states that internet trolls travel on the anonymity of the web and can come from all ages on backgrounds.

“Aggression, deception and manipulation are increasingly part of online interaction, yet many users are unaware not only that some of these behaviours exist, but of how destructive and insidious they can be. The image of trolling is that it is mainly the work of young people, but the fact is trolls come from all ages and backgrounds. They will use different strategies to trigger the response they want from people. Some of these are a lot sneakier than others. It is not just about personal abuse.” Dr Claire Hardaker, Lancaster University

In an article of the Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict soon to be published, Dr Claire Hardaker warns that trolls have become more sophisticated. Still, she gives advice on how to identify troll attacks. She shows the detailed approach that trolls make use of and makes clear that the trigger is often amusement,

Here are the seven deadly sins of trolling and how they are effective
1) Digressing from the topic at hand, especially onto sensitive topics.
Not necessarily overtly argumentative, this tactic frustrates its targets with its pointlessness and circularity. Digression onto sensitive topics triggers the strongest reactions.

2) Hypocriticising, especially for a fault that the critic then displays themself.
A simple tactic, often this is pedantic criticism of grammar, spelling or punctuation in a post which itself contains proofreading errors to provoke exasperated responses from others.

3) Antipathising, by taking up an alienating position, asking pseudo-naive questions, etc.
This tactic is heavily reliant on deceiving the group it is aimed at and covertly manipulates egos, sensitivities, morals and feelings of guilt, usually to trigger emotional responses. It can also create moral dilemmas.

4) Endangering others by giving dangerous advice, encouraging risky behaviour, etc.
A trolling strategy designed to masquerade as help or advice whilst actually causing harm and/or forcing others to respond to prevent harm. It relies on the target’s social responsibility and moral obligation.

5) Shocking others by being insensitive about sensitive topics, explicit about taboo topics, etc.
This appears to succeed mainly due to the strength of feeling provoked by the deeply personal and extraordinarily hurtful nature of the troll’s insensitivity. It triggers a desire to retaliate that is stronger than the desire to deny the troll the satisfaction of a response.

6) Aggressing others by insulting, threatening, or otherwise plainly attacking them without (adequate) provocation.
This is open and deliberate aggression without any clear justification with the aim of antagonising its target into retaliating.

7) Crossposting – sending the same offensive or provocative message to multiple groups then waiting for the response.

Do you have any hints and tips how to work with internet trolls? Share them, we are sure most readers will enjoy your advice.

How the viral video web world is emerging (Infographic)

Audio-video content and video content networks are on the rise. Not one company in the FMCG industry that did not try to start their own initiative around their brand or product in the last two years. From the hype of Social Media another hype was creaping up that many have not yet fully understood but think it might change the world of the advertising industry in the future: viral videos.

The advertising business hopes to make money through Youtube channels and the Google AdSense business. Google invested 100 Mio. US Dollars in the launch of new and original TV content for their Youtube platform, plus they built production studios in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo which might build up Google’s audio-video channel to become one of the main challengers for TV.

Next to the increase of vimeo traffic, more and more video advertising companies arise that produce content, media houses create content hubs as well as PR agencies. Obviously, social advertising companies like Unruly, hallimash or ebuzzing are doing their best to get bloggers implementing and writing about viral ads that their brand customers create. And in the end, the Social Star Awards will make all marketers happy when their virals have made it to become a “viral star”.

The following infographic by the Masters in Marketing Degrees offers some statistics on how the viral web video industry has emerged in the last few years.

The Economics of Going Viral

Survey: Most CMOs and eCommerce execs lack understanding of the mobile experience

Harald Wanetschka  / pixelio.de

Harald Wanetschka / pixelio.de

Mobile is dividing the marketers world. While some say, it is critical to their business objectives, two-thirds admit that they don’t have a strong understanding of the mobile-user experience. This is the main finding of a recent IBM Tealeaf study amoung 582 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and e-commerce leaders. For most companies it is clear how customers behave during the initial awareness stages of the sales funnel. Still, they lack understanding around the purchase stages and the reasons behind cart abandonment.

The study “Reducing Customer Struggle 2013” conducted by Econsultancy shows that marketers now attribute 19% of their total website traffic to mobile devices. Delivering positive customer experience is for 40% of respondents a bigger challenge that on the Web. Herein, bad navigation, small screen sizes and difficulty completing forms were seen as the most serious mobile challenges.

Experiencing a poor custmer experience results for 89% of respondents in working with a competitor. But it seems marketers start understanding the omni-channel customer as they are turning to big data and digital analytics in order to better provide a better mobile experience. And some seem to be real experts in the mobile field: 7% of businesses indicate they have an “excellent” understanding of the overall online customer experience.

The integration of online and offline is still a struggle for most businesses. Most marketers know that information about offline locations, contact details and opening hours on their website is key. But when it comes to establishing a social presence for offline products or services and mobile or local search engine optimization, 93% of the repondents could not get the visibility into individual customer engagement via digital channels.

Spot On!
Seeing their lack in understanding the modern mobile culture, 73% of companies surveyed plan to increase investment in online channels this year. Not surprisingly as mobile is making its way to generate results even in mobile advertising. 6.9bn USD in mobile subscriptions globally seem to be an argument and make 72% invest more in mobile channels. 53% will increase their invest in social. Interesting though that the value of social listening is for most seen ineffective but still they agree social gives insight into what is working and what is not. The looser seems to be offline. More than two-thirds of marketers indicated they either plan to decrease or maintain the same level of investment in offline channels such as stores, shops and branches.

Mobile Advertising: Performance gets better, and Google takes 50% of revenue

mobile-webThere are different views on why mobile advertising is performing. However, some new studies might spread some light: one form TNS and one from SessionM which did their study in cooperation with Millward Brown. The study SessionM published today shows that consumers react positively twice as often to mobile ads… but only as long as they get some value out of it.

Mobile banners are most used from smartphone owners when they get a gift card, coupon, events tickets or loyalty points. Although this gives some good insight in the ranking of the preferred mobile engagement options, consumers want to know what benefit they get out of the digital experience. It means that marketers need to be clever and having some good approach. The surveyed consumers replied that the way mobile ads are presented was crucial to their feedback.

The study makes clear that the mobile strategies need to be clear to the consumer, said Lars Albright, CEO of SessionM: “The questions are, ‘What value am I bringing to the consumer?’ And, ‘How am I doing it?'” It asked 1,000 consumers in a digital survey, as well as a dozen participants in each four hour interviews. 93% of respondents said they had the opportunity to choose a reward in exchange for their smartphone time was “important”. This comes as no surprise after the latest Adobe study telling us that often digital advertising is found “annoying”.

The difference between rewards-based mobile ads and different types of on-the-go promos was that rewards-based mobile ads performed better for purchase consideration (+65), the brand in brand interaction (+14%), branded website traffic (+13%), web searches (+8%), in-store shopping for the brand (+6%), and approaching the brand’s social media pages (+5%). Obviously, the user can be handled and does not always see banners as “annoying and invasive”.

Finally, while a lot of industry players see location-based services as the key to mobile’s future, Joline McGoldrick, research director at Dynamic Logic, Millward Brown’s digital practice, spoke about how interest-level marketing can be a huge help to the space. “Targeting is getting better in mobile,” Joline McGoldrick, Research Director at Dynamic Logicsaid, “but it is still not perfect.”

eMarketer 2013Now, although mobile ad revenue is far from reaching big amounts of ad spendings, many marketers see it as a growth area. Whatever the number that is attached to total mobile ad revenue worldwide is, Google is the leader with over half of surveyed people according to eMarketer. And if you see the numbers it seems that Gogle is still not happy with the budget chunk they do get, reaching out for more it seems. But also Facebook investors will see some light at the end of the tunnel with mobile ads on the rise. However, Google might like the competition but all that market dominance simply making way for some more challenging competition.

It will be interesting to see who will come up as the leader in this cmpetition, who can compete with Google in general, and will Google continue to grow their business? You tell us your views….